A lot of people don’t seem to realize that an ill-fitting helmet can be just as dangerous as no helmet at all. Just because you have a helmet on your head doesn’t mean that you are automatically protected. The helmet must actually fit your head properly.
So, how should a skate helmet fit?
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In this article we are going to look at how a skateboard helmet should fit your head, and how to measure for a skateboard helmet so you can ensure you are best protected in case you wipe out.
How Should A Skate Helmet Fit?
With so many options for helmets on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which one you should buy. The most important factor for buying a skate helmet is that it fits your head properly.
The ideal skate helmet is one that fits snugly all the way around your head with no gaps or spaces between the foam lining and your head. A helmet should not be so tight that it hurts or is uncomfortable, but also should not be able to move freely around your head.
A helmet that is too big can’t protect your head well if it slips or moves around your head. We’ve all seen kids wearing a helmet that is way too big. Not only does it look stupid, but it won’t offer any protection if they fall and the helmet shifts backwards, forwards or even falls off their head.
On the other hand, a helmet that is too small will quickly become so uncomfortable that you won’t want to wear it (even if you know it’s a good idea to do so).
How Do I Know If My Helmet Is Too Small?
You don’t want your skate helmet fit to be too tight. If your helmet is too small it will feel really uncomfortable on your head before you even step on your board. Even if it’s just a little too tight, it will cause discomfort in various points around your head.
This will quickly lead to a massive headache causing you to ditch the helmet. If you feel too much pressure around your temples, then there’s a good chance your helmet is too small or too tight.
Keep in mind that you want your helmet to be ‘snug and comfortable’, not ‘tight and painful’. It should fit like a glove!
How Do I Know If My Helmet Is Too Big?
Just like a helmet that is too small, a helmet that is too big is also as good as useless.
You might think, the bigger the helmet, the more protection, but if your helmet doesn’t fit properly it won’t protect your head very well.
A good way to test if your helmet is too big for your head is with the tilt test.
Tilt your head forwards, backwards and sideways, if you find your helmet is wobbling around or even worse, slipping off, then it is too big.
The ideal helmet should be snug on your head but not move when your head moves.
Most helmets come with a couple of sets of foam pads for the inside. These pads usually come in two different thicknesses, and are for the express purpose of customizing your helmet to provide a more comfortable, snug fit.
The pads will often have velcro, so adding or removing them is very simple.
So, if you find your helmet is too tight or too loose, you can first try swapping out the foam padding for thinner or thicker padding depending on the fit.
If the problem persists you should measure your head again and try finding a helmet that is better suited to your head size. Then you can add/remove padding to customize the fit.
Also, don’t ever buy a helmet to grow in to. Buy the helmet that will fit you today.
How To Measure For A Skateboard Helmet?
So, now you understand that you need to buy a helmet that fits your head properly, how can you measure your head to be sure of the perfect fit? Here are instructions on how to measure for a skateboard helmet.
To measure your head size, you will need a tailor’s measuring tape, one like they use for measuring your waist.
If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can just use a piece of string or even a usb cable, and a ruler.
The front of the helmet will sit about 1 inch or two fingers above your eyebrows. So standing in front of a mirror, use the tape measure (or string) to measure from above your eyebrows and around just above your ears, finishing at the front so you can see the measurement in front of you.
If you’re using string or a usb cable, use your finger to hold exactly where the string meets the start of the string, then measure the length using a ruler. It’s worthwhile taking your measurement in both inches and centimeters as sometimes some helmets will use one or the other for the size.
All of the above is so much easier if you have someone to help you. It’s also a good idea to measure two times just to be sure that you have your head size exactly right.
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Most helmet brands will give a range of inches (or centimeters) for each size like a medium helmet might be from 20 to 22 inches, so try the helmet size that most closely matches the circumference of your head.
If you are buying your skateboard helmet online, check if it says something like “true to size”, or “sizes run large”, or “sizes run small” to help you determine which size you should buy. When sizes run small or large it can become confusing as to what the ‘real’ size is, so try to find a helmet brand that has ‘true to size’.
Don’t forget that the helmet will usually come with different sized padding to help you get the perfect fit.
Video: How to Fit a Helmet
With your new helmet on your head, you should be able to look up and see the brim of your helmet which is there to protect your forehead.
Many skateboard helmets will also have a rear dial to help to customize the fit to suit your head size/shape. Some helmet brands don’t have the rear dial, but just use extra padding to help you achieve a snug fit. If your helmet has the rear dial, you should use this in conjunction with the padding to get the fit that you need.
The chin strap is adjustable and should fit tightly under the chin so that when you open your mouth wide, you can feel the helmet tug down. When you have fastened the chin strap, you should be able to fit two fingers between the strap and your throat. Adjust the chin strap accordingly.
Now, with the correct size helmet on your head and the chin strap adjusted to suit, shake your head vigorously to make sure it doesn’t wobble or move around too much.
You should now be good to go.